Impressionism Defined• While British artists were moving away from naturalism, their French counterparts were pushing the French Realist tradition into new territory.• Instead of themes of the working classes and rural life that had engaged Courbet, the generation that matured around 1870 was generally devoted to subjects of leisure, the upper middle-class, and the city. (slice of life)• Although many of these artists specialized in paintings of the countryside, their point of view was usually that of the city person on holiday.• In April 1874, a number of these artists, including Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro and Renoir, exhibited together in Paris as the Corporation of Artist Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, etc.
Impressionism Defined• All thirty participants agreed not to submit anything that year to the Salon, which had in the past often rejected their works.• Their exhibition was a declaration of independence from the Academy and a bid to gain the attention of the public without intervention of the jury.• While the exhibition received some positive reviews, it was attacked by conservative critics.• Louis Leroy, writing in the comic journal Charivari (shiv-uh- ree), seized on the title of a painting by Monet, Impression, Sunrise (1873), and dubbed the entire exhibition “impressionist.”• While Leroy used the word to attack the seemingly haphazard technique and unfinished look of some of the paintings, Monet and many as colleagues were pleased to accept the label, which spoke to their concern for capturing an instantaneous impression of a scene in nature.
Impressionism Defined• Seven more impressionist exhibitions followed between 1876 and 1886, with the membership of the group changing slightly on each occasion.• Frustration among progressive artists with the exclusionary practices of the Salon jury had been mounting in the decades preceding the first Impressionist exhibition.• Such discontent reached a crescendo in 1863 when the jury turned down 3,000 works submitted to the Salon, leading to a storm of protest. In response, Napoleon III ordered an exhibition of the refused work called the Salon des Refuses (“Salon of the Rejected Ones”). (979, Stokstad, Art History)
Manet, Edouard (1832-1883)• Featured in the Salon of the Rejected Ones was a painting by Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass, which scandalized contemporary viewers and helped establish Manet as a radical artist.• Within a few years, many of the future Impressionists would gather around Manet and follow his lead in challenging academic conventions.• A well-born Parisian who had studied in the early 1850s with the progressive academician Thomas Couture, Manet had by the early 1860s developed a strong commitment to realism, largely as a result of his relationship with the poet Baudelaire.
Manet, Edouard (1832-1883)• In his article “The Painter of Modern Life,” Baudelaire called for an artist who would be the painter of contemporary manners, “the painter of the passing moment and all the suggestions of eternity that it contains.”• Manet seems to have responded to Baudelaire’s call in painting The Luncheon on the Grass. Arguably the most important painting of the 19th century.• The Luncheon on the Grass frank declaration of modernity was deeply offensive to the academic establishment and the average Salon-goer. (980, Stokstad, Art History)
Manet, The Luncheon on the Grass, Realism, 1863
Manet’s, The Luncheon on the Grass, concept and design was borrowed from, Titian’s, The Pastoral Concert.Consider and discuss the content, intention, and purpose of each work and address the following questions:(a) With which styles are the works and artists associated? (b) How are the styles similar? How are the stylesdifferent? (c) Technically and aesthetically, which work appeals to you? WHY? (d) Discuss: line, shape, color, texture, space, mass/volume, depth and composition.
Manet adapted for his composition a group of river gods and a nymph from an engraving by Raimondo based on Raphael’s, Judgment of Paris. Manet’s allusion to the engraving wasapparent to critic Ernest Chesneau, who specifically noted this borrowing, or appropriation, and objected to it.
Manet’s, Olympia, concept and design was borrowed from, Titian’s, Venus of Urbino. Consider and discussthe content, intention, and purpose of each work and address the following questions: (a) With which styles are the works and artists associated? (b) How are the styles similar? How are the styles different? (c) Technically and aesthetically, which work appeals to you? WHY? (d) Discuss: line, shape, color, texture, space, mass/volume, depth and composition.
Monet, Claude (1840-1926)• After some early efforts at plein air (this French expression means “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors) painting near his family home along the Normandy coast, Monet developed his own technique of applying paint with strokes and touches of pure color, intended to describe flowers, leaves and waves, but also to register simply as marks of paint on the surface of the canvas.• Monet’s fully Impressionistic pictures of the 1870s and 1880s- such Impression, Sunrise and Boulevard des Capucines, Paris- are made up entirely of flecks of color.
Monet, Claude (1840-1926)• Using these discrete marks of paint, Monet recorded the shifting play of light on the surface of objects and the effect of that light on the eye, rather than the physical character of the objects. (509, Stokstad, Art: A Brief History)
Monet, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, Impressionism, 1874
Renoir, Auguste (1841-1919)• Auguste Renoir met Monet at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1862. Despite his early predilection for figure painting in a softened Courbet-like mode, Renoir was encouraged by Monet to create pleasant, light-filled landscapes which where painted outdoors.• By the mid-1870s Renoir was combining Monet’s style in the rendering of natural light with his own taste for the figure.• Moulin de la Galette, for example, features dancers dappled in bright afternoon sunlight. (985, Stokstad, Art History)
Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)• Subjects of urban leisure also attracted Edgar Degas, but he did not share the plein air Impressionists’ interest in outdoor light effects. Instead Degas composed his pictures in the studio from working drawings.• Manet, whom Degas met in 1862, and his circle gradually persuaded Degas to turn from history painting to the depiction of contemporary life.• After a period of painting psychologically probing portraits of friends and relatives Degas turned in the 1870s to such Paris amusements as the racetrack, music hall, opera, and ballet. (986, Stokstad, Art History)
Post-Impressionism Defined• The English critic Roger Fry coined the term Post- Impressionism in 1910 to identify a broad reaction against Impressionism in avant-guard painting of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.• Each of these painters moved through an Impressionist phase and continued to use in his mature work the bright Impressionist palette. But each came also to reject the Impressionisms emphasis on the spontaneous recording of light and color and instead sought to create art with the greater degree of formal order and structure.• This goal lead the Post-Impressionist to depart from naturalism and develop more abstract styles that would prove highly influential for the development of modernist painting in the early 20th century.
Seurat, Georges (1859-1891)• Born in Paris and trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Seurat became devoted to classical aesthetics, which he combined with a rigorous study of optics and color theory, especially the “law of the simultaneous contrast of colors,” formulated by Chevreul, a French chemist.• Chevreul’s law holds that adjacent objects not only cast reflections of their own color onto their neighbors but also create in them the effect of their complimentary color.• Thus, when a blue object is set next to a yellow one, the eye will detect a trace of purple, the compliment of yellow, and in the yellow object a trace of orange, the compliment of blue.
Seurat, Georges (1859-1891)• The Impressionists knew of Chevreul’s law but had not applied it systematically. Seurat calculated exactly which hues should be combined, in what proportion, to produce the effect of a particular color. He then set these hues down in dots of pure color, next to one another, in what came to be known as pointillism.• In theory, these juxtaposed dots would merge in the viewer’s eyes to produce the impression of other colors, which would be perceived as more intense than the same hues mixed on the palette.• In Seurat’s work, this optical mixture is never complete for his dots of color are large enough to remain separate in the eye, giving his work a grainy appearance. (995, Stokstad, Art History)
Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Post-Impressionism, 1884-1886
van Gogh, Vincent (1853-1890)• While Cezanne and Seurat were converting Impressionism into a more severe, classical style, van Gogh pursed the opposite direction. He believed that Impressionism did not provide the artists with enough freedom to express their emotions. Since this was his main concern, he is sometimes called an Expressionist.• Van Gogh , the first great Dutch master since the seventeenth century, did not become an artist until 1880: as he died ten years later. His early interests were in literature and religion. Profoundly dissatisfied with the values of industrial society he worked as a lay preacher among poverty- stricken coal miners. This intense feeling for the poor dominates the paintings of his pre-Impressionist period, 1880-85.• To investigate this spiritual reality with the new means at his command, he went to Arles, in the south of France. There between 1888 and 1890, he produced his greatest pictures.
• Like Cezannne, van Gogh now devoted his main energies to landscape painting. Van Gogh saw the Mediterranean countryside filled with ecstatic movement, not architectural stability and permanence. • In 1886 he went to Paris, where he met Degas, Seurat, and other leading French artists through his brother Theo, who had a gallery devoted to modern art. Their effect on him was electrifying: his pictures now blazed with color. This impressionist phase would last for less than two years. • Although, it was vitally important for his development, he had to integrate it with the style of his earlier years.Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, Post-Impressionism, 1880-1890
• To van Gogh himself it was the color, not the form that determined the expressive content of his pictures. The letters he wrote to his brother include many eloquent descriptions of his choice of hues and the emotional meaning he attached to them. • Although he acknowledged that his desire “to exaggerate the essential and to leave the obvious vague” made his colors look arbitrary by Impressionist standards, he remained committed to the visible world.Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, Post-Impressionism, 1880-1890
• In this Self Portrait van Gogh paints himself as a prophet as a Christ like reformer proclaiming, “ I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize.” • During the last year and a half of his life van Gogh experienced repeated psychological crises that led to his going to an insane asylum and eventually committed suicide, in July 1890. • He recorded his emotional state in paintings that would contribute to the emerging expressionistic tradition. (000 Jansen, A Basic History of Western Art)Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, Post-Impressionism, 1880-1890
Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers & Irises, Post-Impressionism, 1888
van Gogh, The Starry Night, Post-Impressionism, 1889
Rodin, Auguste (1840-1917)• The most successful and influential European sculptor of the late nineteenth century was Rodin. Born in Paris and trained as a decorative craftsperson, Rodin failed on three occasions to gain entrance to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and consequently spent the first twenty years of his career as an assistant to other sculptors and decorators.• After an 1875 trip to Italy, where he saw the sculpture of Donatello and Michelangelo, Rodin developed his mature style of vigorously modeled figures in unconventional poses, which were simultaneously scorned by academic critics and admired by the general public. (1002, Stokstad, Art History)
Like Manet, many contemporary artists borrow, or appropriate, imagery, which raises questions about copyright infringement and Fair Use. In 2009, The Associated Press (original image left) threatened to sue the artist who created the iconic Hope (appropriated image right) poster of Barak Obama for copyrightinfringement, but Shepard Fairey says his work is protected under the principle of Fair Use, which exempts artists from copyright restrictions. In your opinion, should Shepard Fairey have the right to reproduce this image or does it belong to the associated press? Here the full story on NPR